Athletics

A's takeaways: What you might have missed in A's 3-2 win over Mariners

A's takeaways: What you might have missed in A's 3-2 win over Mariners

BOX SCORE

Before the A’s 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners in 10 innings Saturday, manager Bob Melvin said it wasn’t time to panic despite the team's 3-4 record.

That ended up being the case on this night. There was more life back in the A’s lineup, despite the numbers on the board.

Oh, and Khris Davis got a hit, his first of the 2020 season.

Here’s what you missed in the A's thrilling win:

He didn’t start a Fiers

Mike Fiers isn’t known for his velocity, but some of his secondary pitches remain the reason he still has a job. He depended on his slider for a good portion of the game -- a pitch Melvin complimented heading into the season after watching a few bullpen sessions. 

In the bottom of the third inning, Fiers’ strikeout against Dylan Moore was his first of the season.

Things were relatively smooth sailing for the most part until Fiers gave up two runs in the third inning, but it was nice to see an A's pitcher heading into the sixth. All in all, not a bad outing for Fiers, but it appeared the Mariners were hitting the ball hard off of him. 

A new ballgame

Chad Pinder made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh inning with a game-tying two-run home run to center field. Earlier, he had slid into at second base and was attended to by the A's trainer. 

Davis’ single to center field in the top of the sixth was a huge sigh of relief for the slugger after starting 0-for-15 heading into the matchup.

On the other side however, Marcus Semien and Matt Olson weren’t productive in the least bit. 

Semien struck out three times and Olson went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Extras

Let’s talk first about the pressure Joakim Soria had on him in the ninth. With bases loaded, he managed to get himself out of a really bad situation to send the game into extras.

And you know what that means … 

The A’s were subject to the newly implemented extra-inning rule which a runner is placed at second base. Tony Kemp came on to pinch-run for Khris Davis in the top of the 10th. 

Robbie Grossman hit a ball to right field and it somehow got lodged under the outfield wall padding. Despite Mariners’ outfielder Kyle Lewis throwing up his hands in an attempt to stop the play, Grossman ran to third. It ended up being a double, but Kemp scored what would be the game-winning run.

Closer Liam Hendriks came on in the bottom of the inning and saved the skid-busting win for the A's.

A's coach Ryan Christenson says apparent Nazi salute was unintentional

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A's coach Ryan Christenson says apparent Nazi salute was unintentional

A's bench coach Ryan Christenson said he "unintentionally" gave a Nazi salute during Oakland's celebratory handshake line after Thursday's win over the Texas Rangers.

"I made a mistake and will not deny it," Christenson said in a statement released by the team. "Today in the dugout I greeted players with a gesture that was offensive. In the world today of [COVID-19] I adapted our elbow bump, which we do after wins, to create some distance with the players. My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in. What I did is unacceptable, and I deeply apologize."

The NBC Sports California broadcast showed Christenson raising his right arm with his palm facing down while A's closer Liam Hendriks approached.  Hendriks quickly grabbed Christenson's arm, bending it at the elbow for the coach's "elbow bump" celebration, which he said is done due to MLB's coronavirus safety protocols. Christenson then turned around and repeated the initial gesture.

"No, no straight arm, you have to bend your elbow," Christenson said Hendriks told him in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, referring to the coach's usual celebration.

"Oh, I see what you mean, oh no, it's like 'Heil Hitler,' " Christenson said after he turned, in his and Hendriks' recounting to Slusser.

The salute, typically followed by exclamations of "Heil Hitler" or "Sieg Heil," was a compulsory tribute to Adolf Hitler within the Nazi Party and, later, all of Germany under the Nazis' rule from 1933 through 1945. Still used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists long after the end of World War II, the Anti-Defamation League says the salute is "the most common white supremacist hand sign in the world."

The A's said in a statement that they were "deeply sorry this happened on our playing field."

"We do not support or condone this gesture, or the racist sentiment behind it," the A's said in a statement. "This is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we as a [club] and many others are working to expose and address racial inequities in our country."

Before the A's released the pair of statements, Christenson told Slusser that he "wasn't doing that intentionally" and that "I just blacked out, my mind wasn't there and I spaced out."

"I'm cringing inside picturing myself," Christenson told Slusser. "Of course I'm sorry for it -- it's like standing there with my middle finger up. Anyone should know better."

A's Khris Davis reveals adjustment that led to production at plate

A's Khris Davis reveals adjustment that led to production at plate

Whatever he’s doing appears to be working.

Khris Davis proved his recent adjustment at the plate is paying dividends, as he tallied his second multi-hit game of the season during the A’s 6-4 sweep over the Texas Rangers on Thursday.

Davis said the coaching staff and teammates are to thank for the recent surge -- particularly hitting coach Darren Bush, who first suggested an alteration with Davis' hands.

“Yeah, I just put my hands back and further up a little and it’s been helping me be more accurate to the ball,” Davis said after the game. “I’m finding less swings and misses and a little better contact.”

“It’s all pretty comfortable right away, usually when you have to make an adjustment and you feel it click, you just run with that and don’t look back so it’s brought some comfort in the box so I’m going to keep working with it,” Davis said.

Davis went 2-for-3 on Thursday, driving in two runs in the 4th inning to break the game open.

“I think it’s a positioning thing, just having them further back -- less room to go,” he added. “They’re just already ready to fire and it’s been working.”

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Davis wants to be the everyday designated hitter, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case with his lack of production. Mark Canha has been taking over the DH spot in some of the outings, but it’s something Davis is ready to earn back.

“It is what it is,” Davis said. “And, I just have to capitalize on my opportunities that I do get. It’s s--tty, but I’ve been here before, I’ve lost my job before a couple times and I’ve had to battle back and this is nothing new to me.”

It turns out the oblique injury Davis suffered last season when he ran into the wall in May ended up leaving a bigger mark than just on his skin. 

"I think when I got hurt, I had been getting set up in a different way,” Davis said. “My body just wasn’t adjusting to that injury and just when I put my hands further back it just freed things up.”

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Oh, and his teammates are helping him a lot too.  

“A lot of good teammates, they know what it’s like to go through a struggle and they just kept reminding me that I could hit all around, I don’t have to hit a home run or whatever, but they constantly say that I’m a good hitter, I’m [not just] a power hitter.”